2019 Drive to Thailand – Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Setting off early on Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

Firstly, here’s wishing all my Muslim friends and readers Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri! It was so wonderful to see all the Malay families all dressed out in their colourful traditional costumes, celebrating this joyous festival with a meal, some shopping and even fireworks!

This certainly added a lot of colour and festive cheer to our yearly drive up North. The downside however, is the uncertainty regarding the traffic conditions along Malaysia’s North-South Highway. We brooded over which day would be the best to cross the Causeway… the last thing you’d want on the first day of a long road trip is to get stuck in a 3 hour jam at the Woodlands or Johor checkpoint.

Singapore to Taiping, in terms of distance, this would be our longest leg!

We eventually decided that setting off early on Hari Raya itself would be the wisest choice, because by then, most of the people who had to travel for the celebrations would have already made their trip, and we would also avoid the post-Hari Raya jams.

This turned out to be a sagely decision. We set off from our home at 5.45am, basically drove through the Woodlands checkpoint, and experienced only minor congestion at Johor immigration.

Traffic along the E2 was clear. We made good progress and took a slight detour off the Nilai exit to find our favorite place for brunch – Penang cuisine at a coffeeshop near to the Ban Seng Tyre Shop, only to find it closed. After waiting 30 minutes for the shop to open, we were all super hungry, and ordered to our hearts content. Sadly, we found that for whatever reason, the food quality had dropped compared to our previous visits.

After Brunch, we set off again. For me this is the most difficult time to drive… after a meal in the heat of the afternoon. The dreaded “After Meal Syndrome” sets in, and I need to watch my level of alertness and make sure I don’t drift off to sleep on the roads. I try to take more regular rest stops to recharge, wash my face and to stretch my legs… sometimes even a 10 minute power nap. As the only driver on our road trips, my concentration on the road is crucial to our safety.

Driving past Ipoh with the Bintang Mountain Range as the backdrop!

We run into some heavy traffic between KL and Ipoh, but once past Ipoh we were able to enjoy the scenic mountain backdrops with clear traffic. We arrived at Novotel Taiping at about 4 pm. We love Taiping for its laid back charm. Less crowds, nice food, and with lovely mountains in the skyline. What’s there not to like? And thank you Novotel Taiping for giving us free breakfast yet again, even though we did not purchase a room that included breakfast! Appreciate your kindness and hospitality to our family! (It pays to be an Accor Gold Member)

Part 4 – Good to have a rest day before a long leg!

Chilling with family after a long day’s drive!

Blog Menu

  1. 2019 Drive from Singapore to Thailand
  2. Crossing the Sadao Border
  3. Selamat Hari Raya
  4. Day of Rest
  5. Expectation Vs. Reality
  6. Krabi Krazy
  7. A Scenic Leisurely Drive
  8. Home Away From Home
  9. Sunsets, Beaches and Takeaways
  10. Off to Phuket Town
  11. Phuket Trickeye Museum
  12. Phuket Aquarium
  13. Naka Night Market Hit and Run
  14. Time to Head Home
  15. Hey Hat Yai!
  16. Last Stop Kuala Lumpur
  17. Brake Pads, Movie and Humpty Dumpty
  18. Flaming Lorries and Happy Memories
  19. Route Summary
  20. Concluding Thoughts

Blog Series

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